Office ergonomics focuses on designing for people and fitting a workplace to their needs. How is your office space designed? Is your chair comfortable or do you go home with a backache every evening? Are you sitting at your desk all day or do you stand periodically while you work? All of these things explain the ergonomics or the study of people’s efficiency in their work environment. It’s important that you are staying safe, comfortable and productive at the office. Here is a checklist of some areas to ensure you are getting the most out of your work environment.
The lighting in a building is important when you are trying to be productive. It’s often overlooked because a lot of people don’t think about it. As long as they can see, it is something that goes to the back of their mind. However, lighting can make a huge difference in your mood, productivity, energy levels, and more. Making sure you’re able to read and your eyes are adjusted is vital to avoid straining your eyes as well.
Here are a few ways to improve office ergonomics with lighting:
- Energy-saving lighting
- Replace bad or flickering lights
- Utilize natural lighting as much as you can with windows. Exposure to sunlight will increase the health and happiness of employees which will affect their working abilities.
- Consider the color of lighting—the color of the light is essential in creating a productive work environment. Many people don’t like bright white light or dim yellow light. It’s best to try and match the lighting to be as close to natural light as possible.
Posture is another key factor in workplace ergonomics. Your posture can directly correlate to back pain, stress and strain injuries, so maintaining proper posture is necessary. A lot of people sit in the same position for 8 hours of their day so it’s important to make sure they are sitting appropriately. Since posture is something that directly affects the work environment, it relates directly to office ergonomics.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to your posture:
- Alternate positions. There are various options to choose from when picking out your office chair. You can lower or raise your chair which will affect how your feet touch the ground and how your body is aligned. Pay attention to your feet, legs, back, and shoulders when sitting and standing. You want to avoid slouching and make sure everything is correctly in place to avoid a sore neck or back.
- Sit-Stand desks are another way to improve your posture throughout the day. Experts recommend people get at least 15 minutes of standing time each hour while at work. It’s easy to stay seated at your desk all day, but it’s important to come up with ways to avoid this because sitting all day is bad for your health. Sit-Stand desks are perfect because you can do your work while standing and they are easily raised and lowered so it’s not a hassle.
- Take walks around the building. Walking around is a great way to improve blood flow, you can do this by going to the bathroom, taking a trip to fill up your water or going over to your coworker’s desk instead of calling/emailing them.
The noise levels vary from office to office. Whether your office is open-concept or private, the noise level can have an effect on your ability to work. Some people like a little bit of background noise and others need complete silence to focus. This area is all about personal preference.
- If you like some noise but are getting distracted at work, try putting in some headphones and listening to some soft music.
- If you need complete silence, talk to your boss about getting a more private area in the office. You could also your earplugs.
The style in which you work includes many different aspects. Some ways to change your work style to improve the work environment are:
- Plan ahead and set realistic expectations—don’t make a large to-do list if you know you can’t finish these things in sustainable time.
- Keep a friendly attitude with your coworkers
- Stay organized. Your desk condition can have a major effect on your mood and work ethic. If your desk is messy and unorganized, it’s liable to make you messy and unorganized.
- Don’t spend hours doing the same thing over and over. This will tire your brain out and decrease the quality of your work the longer you work on it. Switch things up, even if it’s to do the smallest task.
- Take small breaks instead of working all the way through the day. Our brains need a chance to recoup and rest no matter what we’re doing.
There are many other areas you can simply improve in your office ergonomics. Everything around you in the office is either hurting or helping you be a more productive professional at work. From the lighting to the air to your posture at your desk to the style of your work. Once you realize the effect all of these things can have on you in the workplace, you can start making changes that will enhance your productivity, comfortability and safety.